“When a serving girl brought her supper, she almost kissed her. There was hot bread and fresh-churned butter, a thick beef soup, capon and carrots, and peaches in honey. ’Even the food tastes sweeter,’ she thought.” -A Clash of Kings
The Roman recipe is very curious. The tastes are both familiar and strange, as we aren’t used to cumin being used in desserts. The pepper lingers on the back of your palate, lengthening the slightly spicy sensation started by the cumin. We used a sweet wine, but the slight tartness of a vinegar would be lovely with the other flavor elements. The syrup is very sweet, such that a small portion goes a long way. In the end, we decided the flavor would work beautifully as a chutney, or a side dish to a meaty main course, rather than a dessert.
The modern recipe is pure decadence. Grilling the peaches brings them to their absolute sweetness, and they half cook, making them reminiscent of peach pie filling. The thyme infused honey takes the sweetness and complexity to the next level. You will want to savor every single bite, and including a dollop of creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream will only add to the dish.
So? The Roman recipe is what your favorite meat dishes didn’t know they were missing, while the modern version is a brilliant dessert. Both recipes are available in the Cookbook.